« PreviousContinue »
STATEMENT OF FRANCIS J. BROWN, STAFF ASSOCIATE,
Mr. BROWN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And before I begin my statement let me introduce Mr. Karl Grittner and Mr. Waring Hopkins, interns of the National Institute of Public Affairs. They are now on the staff of the council and have assisted in this study of housing.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, we are glad to have you with us. Mr. BROWN. I am very glad, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, to meet with you today to discuss one segment of this over-all problem with which you are concerned-the one as to which both this committee and the Congress have already shown a very deep interest. In a part of what I shall say I am speaking officially for the Committee on Relationships of Higher Education for the Federal Government, and in part I am speaking personally. I will differentiate between the two as I proceed. While I do not represent other educational organizations in the field of higher education, I have talked with a very considerable number of officers of those organizations, and I know that their recommendations would not in any appreciable extent be different from those I am presenting to you this afternoon.
The American Council on Education is an organization of educational associations and institutions. It is composed of 61 constituent national and regional educational associations, with interests in education at all levels; 50 associate member organizations and 729 institutional members, comprising universities, colleges, teachers colleges, junior colleges, State departments of education, and city school systems.
I think it is safe to say that in the representation from organizations and institutions, the American Council is one of the most representative of all in this field.
I am not appearing here today to take a position either for or against the general housing bill which the committee is considering. The council is not in a position adequately to judge its various provisions, although the ends to be gained by such legislation are highly desirable. The immediate interest of the Committee on the Relationships of Higher Education to the Federal Government is in putting before the committee a problem which is of great concern to the colleges and universities of the country and one which will reach emergency proposals when demobilization has progressed further and, let me add, in some institutions has already reached emergency proportions. That problem is the housing of the great number of veterans, and especially of married veterans-and their families-who have returned, or shall return, to institutions of higher learning.
At its meeting on September 11 and 12, 1945, the committee unanimously endorsed
those sections of the Wagner-Ellender bill which would assure provisions for housing for veterans in school and college and recommended that any testimony presented concerning the Wagner-Ellender bill be based upon the premise that such assistance be available to individuals attending both privately and publicly controlled schools and colleges.
I might say that there was no disposition on the part of the committee to be in opposition to any aspect of the bill. It was simply
80525- 46- pt. 1— 21
their feeling that we are not in position to judge of the legal and monetary aspects of it.
The membership of this committee is as follows: Francis J. Brown, secretary, American Council on Education; O. C. Carmichael, chairman, chancelor, Vanderbilt University; Harry W. Chase, chancelor, New York University; James B. Conant, president, Harvard University; Carter Davidson, president, Knox College; Edward V. Stanford, O. S. A., rector, Augustinian College; Raymond Walters, president, University of Cincinnati; Herman B. Wells, president, Indiana University; Roscoe L. West, president, New Jersey State Teachers College; George F. Zook, ex officio president, American Council on Education.
Some months ago, a popular magazine carried an article under the caption "The GI rejects education." Exactly the reverse is true. Even with the recent discharge of service personnel who might reasonably be expected to return to school and college, the number enrolling is already taxing educational facilities to the limit in many institutions. Some 4,000 are enrolled in one institution and more than a thousand in several of the larger colleges and universities. the necessary delay in processing the forms, even the Veterans' Administration figures do not reflect a true picture. Exact figures are impossible to procure, as the number is increasing daily, but it is probable that there are now more than 100,000 veterans enrolled in colleges and universities and nearly the same number enrolled in other types of training. More are coming daily, and this is only a beginning.
Senator MITCHELL. Do you have any information on the number of veterans that are making application to colleges and universities for enrollment and asking at the same time if housing facilities are available? Mr. BROWN. The two questions are asked almost simultaneously at the present time.
Senator MITCHELL. Dean McAllister, of the State College of Washington, told me the other day they have hundreds of letters daily asking these questions; that many returning veterans want to go to school, but they want to know whether housing for them is available.
Mr. BROWN. That is correct. I was talking the other day with the president of Georgia Tech, and he stated that practically every letter coming to his office asked for that twofold information: Can I be admitted? And will I have a place to live? And I think that is almost universally true.
Senator MITCHELL. Would you have any way to make a tabulation of that situation so as to determine how many veterans actually are seeking entrance to colleges and are not able to get accommodation? Mr. BROWN. Not exactly; no. What happens in many cases is this: The selection of the institution is not based on the institution but on the housing facilities available, which is unfortunate. And I shall comment, later on, on some things colleges and universities have tried to do to meet this emergency situation.
Senator MITCHELL. In other words, returning veterans are shopping around on the basis of housing.
Mr. BROWN. That is right; rather than on the basis of the education they can procure.
The CHAIRMAN. You may resume your statement.
Mr. BROWN. More important than this gross number is the relative proportion of veterans who are married as compared with the prewar college population.
The latest available figures indicate that 40 percent of the veterans returning to college are married, and that will increase as the months go by. This compares with a normal enrollment of married men of only 7 percent, which was on the graduate level. The two figures indicate just how critical the housing situation is in the college communities, for the colleges and their immediate communities have been called upon to provide almost six times the housing facilities for married students as were necessary prior to the war. A further complicating factor is that 10 percent of the veterans have one or more children, and this percent will also increase. That is a unique. problem, so far as colleges are concerned.
During the war period, some of the institutions accepted an unusually large number of women students, thus using housing facilities normally available to men. Otherwise these housing facilities would not have been used. These students cannot now be dropped, as the institution has a moral obligation to permit them to complete their courses. This fact, coupled with the cessation of construction of housing on the campus for the entire period of the war, would have created a housing shortage even if there had been no legislation providing for veterans' education. It is likewise impossible to house students in the community, since a war-born general housing shortage caused the properties normally rented by college men and their families to be occupied by noncollege people. The combination of these factors is even now having serious repercussions on the return of veterans to school. One small college in Pennsylvania, which has a peacetime enrollment of less than 500 students, has turned away 37 veterans this fall-(and that figure was given to me a month ago)— all of them married, for the sole reason that housing facilities are not available. The same situation is developing in hundreds of colleges and universities, and there is hardly a day passes that we do not receive word of the growing need and of veterans who cannot be housed.
And I might add that last week I personally talked with the president of the University of Kentucky, the president of the Kansas A. and M., the president of the University of Iowa, the president of Iowa State College, the president of Georgia Tech, and with representatives of Colgate, the University of Nebraska, Rutgers and other universities, and they inform me of similar conditions-and, of course, the need will spread as more veterans return.
I should like to impress upon this committee the fact that this is an entirely new situation which the institutions have been called upon to meet. Never before have they been faced with such a large proportion of married students. The situation must be met, and promptly, or we shall find the anomaly existing where the Congress has made education the right of every veteran and yet, in fact, the right cannot be exercised because of the lack of housing facilities. A tabulation was made recently of the 1,300 colleges and universities included in the book A Guide to Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools in the United States, to determine the availability in the community of housing facilities for married veterans. And one part of that questionnaire dealt with the availability in the community
of housing facilities for veterans. Of that number 82 institutions, or 12 percent, stated that such facilities were not available; 810 institutions, or 62 percent, reported that such facilities were scarce; and I might cite such a community as Auburn, Ala., a town of 600, where the housing facilities are mostly made up of homes for the faculty-and that could be multiplied many times; while 333 institutions, or 26 percent, said that housing facilities for married veterans were ample. Of these 1,300 institutions, 892, or 74 percent-3 out of 4-reported that they were facing a serious shortage of housing for veterans. And remember that these data were supplied last August.
A tabulation was also made to determine how many of these colleges had housing facilities on the campus for married people. Of the same 1,300 institutions, only 136 reported available on-campus facilities; 1,128 had none. In the 136 colleges and universities with housing for married folks, the total number of units is only 2,903. With some 40,000 married veterans already on the campus, the inadequacy of this number is clearly evident.
In order to procure a quick cross-section view of the present situation, a poll was made of 100 colleges and universities, including at least 1 privately and 1 publicly controlled institution in each State. Of the 100 colleges polled, 87 percent answered that they faced a shortage of housing. About 75 percent replied that they needed facilities for married couples, and 69 percent replied that their dormitory facilites for single students were inadequate.
In reply to a specific question as to the actual number of housing units needed for single persons and married veterans, 25 percent of the colleges gave specific answers that are useful in estimating total needs. Fifteen publicly supported institutions reported need for 10,000 single accommodations and 4,430 apartment units for married folks. Seven privately supported colleges need 1,150 single and 800 apartment units. Four of the junior colleges gave the figures of 325 additional rooms and 300 apartments. Taking these figures as a yardstick, the 100 institutions would alone need 47,300 single rooms and 22,120 apartments.
Those results have just recently been confirmed by an independent study made by Mr. Benjamin Fine, of the New York Times, within the past 2 days. I should like, Mr. Chairman, if I may, to read two paragraphs from Mr. Fine's statement and then insert the entire article in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be done.
Mr. BROWN. It is as follows:
* * a study of 25 typical institutions, conducted by the New York Times, showed that the colleges and universities, both large and small, are grappling with the housing problem but without any immediate solution in sight. Some colleges admit frankly that unless they receive assistance in building dormitories they will be unable to accommodate the many veterans who are now applying. In almost every instance the institutions have been forced to adopt emergency measures to provide housing facilities.
Trailers, apartment houses, gymnasiums, abandoned war plants, and many other improvised quarters are utilized by the colleges and universities to meet the acute situation. Many colleges have from 100 to 400 trailers on their campuses, where married veterans live with their families
I will not read any more of the article but do think the entire article will be illuminating on this phase of the problem.
The CHAIRMAN. The entire article may be made a part of the record. (The following article appeared in the issue of the New York Times on Thursday, November 29, 1945:)
[From the New York Times, November 29, 1945]
HOUSING SHORTAGE IN COLLEGES ACUTE
THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS AND VETERANS TURNED AWAY IN UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS TRAILERS DOT CAMPUSES-WAR WORKERS' ABODES HOMES OF SOMEGOVERNMENT URGED TO ACT AT ONCE
(By Benjamin Fine)
As a result of an influx of veterans to the campuses, American colleges and universities now face the greatest housing shortage in their history, a survey conducted by the American Council on Education disclosed yesterday. Thousands of students and former servicemen, especially those who are married, are unable to enter college as a result of this unprecedented crisis.
At the same time, a study of 25 typical institutions, conducted by the New York Times, showed that the colleges and universities, both large and small, are grappling with the housing problem but without any immediate solution in sight. Some colleges admit frankly that unless they receive assistance in building dormitories they will be unable to accommodate the many veterans who are now applying. In almost every instance the institutions have been forced to adopt emergency measures to provide housing facilities.
Trailers, apartment houses, gymnasiums, abandoned war plants, and many other improvised quarters are utilized by the colleges and universities to meet the acute situation. Many colleges have from 100 to 400 trailers on their campuses, where married veterans live with their families.
Acute trailer towns have been set up for the students, adding a bizzare note to the traditional calm of the university campus. Thus far 100,000 veterans, 40,000 of whom are married, have returned to the college, classroom. These figures, officials predict, will double when the spring term opens in February. While in ordinary times the colleges can expect 7 percent of their students to be married, the figures for veterans is 40 percent.
EVERY STATE IS COVERED
In its survey the American Council, covering 100 colleges and universities, reached into every State in the union. Everywhere the story was the same: lack of living quarters, acute overcrowding, turning away of students, emergency measures to provide temporary facilities.
One small college in Pennsylvania, which has a peacetime enrollment of 500 students, has turned away 37 veterans this fall, all married, because housing facilities were not available. A similar situation has developed in hundreds of other institutions. The council reports that hardly a day passes that it does not receive word of veterans who cannot be housed.
Never before have the colleges been faced with such a large proportion of married students. According to the council, of the 1,300 institutions of learning in this country, 892, or 74 percent-three out of four-report that they now face a serious shortage of housing for veterans. Only 136 colleges have facilities for married veterans on the campus; a total number of 3,000 students can be accommodated, although 40,000 married veterans have already enrolled, and will increase to 80,000 soon.
Of the 100 colleges polled by the council. 81 percent said that they faced a shortage of housing; 75 percent replied that they needed facilities for married couples; and 70 percent said that their dormitory facilities for single students were inadequate. The 100 institutions need 47,300 single rooms and 22,120 apartments.
EVERY RESOURCE REALIZED
Colleges have utilized every available resource. Trailer towns have been established on more than 50 campuses. Through cooperation with the National Housing Administration, 3,000 trailers have been moved from war production areas to the campus. One hundred or more trailers are now found on the campuses of the University of Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Cornell, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, and Michigan.